Author Topic: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]  (Read 21367 times)

mlipps

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #50 on: April 26, 2013, 08:06:27 AM »
Why don't you actually do the math. At your current savings rate & spending rate, how much will you need to retire & how long will it take you to get there?  (Hint, I think it's longer than 8 years) How much of your current spending could be cut in retirement, like the dog walker, the maid, the gardener?

Then, calculate what happens for say every $5k you save instead of spend? How much does that change move in your retirement date?

Also, based on the kinds of conversations arguments you and your wife are having about this, have you considered counseling to help you get onto the same page?

AJ

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #51 on: April 26, 2013, 09:45:09 AM »
Wow. I can honestly say I am embarrassed at the reactions of people on this forum. Seriously guys, we used to be better than this. Joet is obviously neither a troll, nor does he belong on the Antimustachian wall of shame. Hell, maybe you should put MMM there for buying a giant-ass house BEFORE he was FI! This isn't a pissing contest to see who can spend the least nominal dollars or FIRE the fastest. It's about spending according to your values - even if that means FI taking longer.

The issue (and Joet can correct me if I'm wrong) is that what he values and what his partner values are not the same things - and if they both spend on their values they don't save as much as they would like. This has NOTHING to do with the actual dollar values he is using. He can fucking burn $100 bills for all I care, if that is what makes him happy. The issue at hand - which is applicable to ALL of us that have partners - is how to manage differing value systems.

The answer(s) to that question should make for a useful discussion - if people can take their heads out of their must-spend-less-than-$24k-a-year asses for a minute and address the actual issue at hand. The OP doesn't need people to tell him that a dog walker is an unnecessary expense (he said as much in his post) or that trips to Fiji are extravagant. He obviously knows that. A six year old would know that. And it isn't adding to the discussion to keep pointing it out.

Freda

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2013, 09:57:50 AM »


The issue (and Joet can correct me if I'm wrong) is that what he values and what his partner values are not the same things - and if they both spend on their values they don't save as much as they would like. This has NOTHING to do with the actual dollar values he is using. He can fucking burn $100 bills for all I care, if that is what makes him happy. The issue at hand - which is applicable to ALL of us that have partners - is how to manage differing value systems.


Absolutely, but the bottom line in that is ALWAYS that you can't change someone else.  You can only change you.  They may change in response to your changes and that may be fantastic or terrible, but your focus has to be on self.

anastrophe

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #53 on: April 26, 2013, 11:07:51 AM »
It sounds like you and your partner need to find some goals you both really want--clearly your opinion is not an impetus for change for them, but there must be something else they want to save money for other than what you are both spending it on now? You need to have a serious talk, not about the dog-walker, but about your relationship and your future plans.

I'm not sure if anyone else has suggested this, but could you separate your finances? Maybe difficult if you are married, but could you stop sharing money and save on your own? I don't actually think this will solve your fundamental problem (that you do not share a vision) but it's something to consider, possibly.

Also...off-topic, but...

spend it however it wants [staying gender nuetral here],

"It" is not gender-neutral, it's neuter--in English, you only use it for objects (is this somewhat telling about the way you feel about your partner?). Anyways, English has no commonly accepted gender-neutral pronouns, but singular "they" has a historical use (and works OK as I've used it above) and I've seen ze/hir/hirself used increasingly in some communities. The wikipedia article here gives an overview of the options: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun

StarryC

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #54 on: April 26, 2013, 11:27:48 AM »
Todays MMM blog post is just for you and your spouse. 

Why retire early?  MMM wanted to be outside and spend time with his kid.  You sound like you like sports and outdoor stuff too.  What does your spouse like?  If it really is shopping for designer clothes and accessories and eating at expensive restaurants and paying someone else to spend time with your dog that is fine.  It isn't really consistent with early retirement, but it is fine.  If your spouse doesn't want to retire early, there is no point in saving more money. 

At your current rate you will have enough to retire at 65 or 70.   If your spouse does have interests that would be better served by retirement, then you need to, together determine how you can cut expenses so that you can save so that you have about 25x your annual expenses saved by the time you want to retire. 

I agree with the "lead by example."  You say you don't or can't control spending, but you do.  Do you eat lunch out?  Do you buy coffee/snacks?  Do you ever cook dinner?  You could do the gardening 1x a month or even 2x a month and reduce that expense.  It sounds like you may have an extra car sitting around that you could sell and reduce your insurance and add to savings.  Do you buy your own clothes? Could you call the cable or internet company to negotiate lower rates?  Put YOURSELF on a monthly spending/gift giving allowance first.  What have you given up to reach your early retirement goal?  Know the answer to that before you start asking your spouse to do the same.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 11:29:33 AM by StarryC »

madgeylou

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #55 on: April 26, 2013, 11:31:06 AM »
The issue (and Joet can correct me if I'm wrong) is that what he values and what his partner values are not the same things - and if they both spend on their values they don't save as much as they would like. This has NOTHING to do with the actual dollar values he is using. He can fucking burn $100 bills for all I care, if that is what makes him happy. The issue at hand - which is applicable to ALL of us that have partners - is how to manage differing value systems.

but i think the point is that the OP and his partner DON'T have differing value systems. OP maybe just feels a little more guilty about it than the partner? i dunno. but, as witnessed by the "oh no i could never give up my gardener / dog walker / last minute trips to fiji" responses to every last suggestion made, it doesn't seem like the OP is interested in actually making changes, just fantasizing about it.

OP, i think MMM might've written today's blog post JUST FOR YOU.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/25/why-should-i-be-frugal-when-im-so-rich/

Jamesqf

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #56 on: April 26, 2013, 11:41:11 AM »
I guess perhaps its to suggest we are too lazy to walk our own dog. Got it.

No, not my point at all.  I (and a couple of other people here - great minds thinking alike :-)) were just contemplating the economics of the dog-walking business.  Since I take my own two out most days, taking a couple others along would be little extra work, and a good side income (or "retirement" gig).

(Just as an aside, a healthy medium to large dog does not need to be walked on a leash around a (sub)urban neighborhood.  It needs free-ranging exercise, including a lot of running.)

Joet

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2013, 12:07:18 PM »
thanks for the candid feedback everyone, I dont mind the bashing at all. sorry if I come across as defensive, I believe people wouldn't bother to respond unless it was with some honest advice/feedback, so I am thankful for the help :)

after a ~45 minute discussion/argument/fight, I ended up getting an agreement to nix the house phone, dog walker, and to use YNAB to keep an eye on monthly expenses and to shoot for a (wait for it....) $8k all-in monthly budget including all annualized expenses. Woo! That would push annual savings into the 110k-range.

Now actually effecting this behavioral change could be monumental a task. lol

and I agree with everyone. There's 3 sides to every story [his/hers/truth]. I spend too much too, no doubt. I'm sure partners side would be a ginormous rant against my habits too, but comparing CC statements, I swipe approximately 10% of our annual credit card expenses. I can only cut back so much [relatively], sure if I took my spending to zero we'd meet my goal as well I guess.

And my partner basically tells me "I spend on US honey, I want us to be HAPPY, so I buy nice things", indeed. This is true
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 12:10:14 PM by Joet »

Freda

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2013, 12:13:19 PM »
Well if you guys can realign what it is that you believe will make you happy from STUFF to FREEDOM, you'll be in awesome shape. ;)  We're in that process too.

matchewed

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #59 on: April 26, 2013, 12:25:43 PM »
Remember when discussing these things with loved ones; this is not a contest to see who's the most to blame. Frame these discussions as certain actions having the greates impact on helping you as a partnership and couple achieve your goals.

Jamesqf

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #60 on: April 26, 2013, 12:29:50 PM »
There's 3 sides to every story [his/hers/truth]. I spend too much too, no doubt. I'm sure partners side would be a ginormous rant against my habits too, but comparing CC statements, I swipe approximately 10% of our annual credit card expenses. I can only cut back so much [relatively], sure if I took my spending to zero we'd meet my goal as well I guess.

Why not separate your finances into his, hers, and ours?  You both have decent incomes, IIRC.  So decide what properly belongs in "ours", both contribute equally to that, and each do what you want with what's left.

CNM

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2013, 03:24:52 PM »


Why not separate your finances into his, hers, and ours?  You both have decent incomes, IIRC.  So decide what properly belongs in "ours", both contribute equally to that, and each do what you want with what's left.

This really works in our household.  My husband is much more mustachian than I am in some ways and keeping somewhat separate finances keeps our household sane.

yolfer

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #62 on: April 26, 2013, 03:50:52 PM »
thanks for your post. very entertaining. However I'm not sure if "bold leadership" applies to a partnership of equals. Help me understand how that might be applied? Thank you

You want your spouse to follow your new mustachian ways. (S)he's reluctant do to do. You need to lead. Leading by example is one great way but it'll depend on your and your spouse's personalities.

As one member of a couple it requires going out on a limb to change something in yourself when the other person isn't already on board. That's why it also requires boldness or bravery. Hense, "bold leadership."

yolfer

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #63 on: April 26, 2013, 04:04:03 PM »
thanks for the candid feedback everyone, I dont mind the bashing at all. sorry if I come across as defensive, I believe people wouldn't bother to respond unless it was with some honest advice/feedback, so I am thankful for the help :)

after a ~45 minute discussion/argument/fight, I ended up getting an agreement to nix the house phone, dog walker, and to use YNAB to keep an eye on monthly expenses and to shoot for a (wait for it....) $8k all-in monthly budget including all annualized expenses. Woo! That would push annual savings into the 110k-range.

Now actually effecting this behavioral change could be monumental a task. lol

and I agree with everyone. There's 3 sides to every story [his/hers/truth]. I spend too much too, no doubt. I'm sure partners side would be a ginormous rant against my habits too, but comparing CC statements, I swipe approximately 10% of our annual credit card expenses. I can only cut back so much [relatively], sure if I took my spending to zero we'd meet my goal as well I guess.

And my partner basically tells me "I spend on US honey, I want us to be HAPPY, so I buy nice things", indeed. This is true

Thanks for the update! I was curious what you and your partner would take away from this discussion. I'm sorry that it turned into an argument/fight and I hope your spouse didn't just say "sure, honey, whatever you want" to make the discussion end. It's a very big change you're proposing so changing it will take time. Imagine going to the paleo diet or some other crazy-big change. You'll fall off and on the wagon a few times.

Best of luck to you both!

secondcor521

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #64 on: April 26, 2013, 11:32:56 PM »
My take on all you've written is that your wife has not internalized and agreed on your goal of pulling in FI.  I am doubtful that your wife will in fact reign in the spending with your latest agreement and concerned that if she does in fact reign in spending that resentment will build.

I'm not sure I liked the book, but I just finished a book called "the four laws to debt-free prosperity" or somesuch, and they used a phrase called spending your way to wealth.  At first blush doesn't sound very Mustachian, but it was the idea that what we usually term saving and investing is really spending that money on our future selves / freedom / FI.  At the end of the day I bet your wife would say that you're already spending enough money on your future selves, either because she doesn't really care about FI, or doesn't understand, believe, or hasn't internalized the math of the matter.  Which your cavalier and loose FI budgeting doesn't help with, by the way.

You might look at "Leading Change" by Kotter.  It's generally meant for leading change in a business context, but the principles should apply in a personal context as well.  My guess is you're not implementing step 1, which is to create a sense of urgency in the organization.  You might have a sense of urgency, but it sounds like your wife doesn't.  Common mistake, and it means you won't succeed until you change your approach with her.

Ask your wife when she wants to retire and try to truly listen to her.  Say "Hey honey, when do you want to retire?" and then shut up and truly listen to her.

Good luck.

matchewed

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2013, 06:24:27 AM »
Wow. I can honestly say I am embarrassed at the reactions of people on this forum. Seriously guys, we used to be better than this. Joet is obviously neither a troll, nor does he belong on the Antimustachian wall of shame. Hell, maybe you should put MMM there for buying a giant-ass house BEFORE he was FI! This isn't a pissing contest to see who can spend the least nominal dollars or FIRE the fastest. It's about spending according to your values - even if that means FI taking longer.

The issue (and Joet can correct me if I'm wrong) is that what he values and what his partner values are not the same things - and if they both spend on their values they don't save as much as they would like. This has NOTHING to do with the actual dollar values he is using. He can fucking burn $100 bills for all I care, if that is what makes him happy. The issue at hand - which is applicable to ALL of us that have partners - is how to manage differing value systems.

The answer(s) to that question should make for a useful discussion - if people can take their heads out of their must-spend-less-than-$24k-a-year asses for a minute and address the actual issue at hand. The OP doesn't need people to tell him that a dog walker is an unnecessary expense (he said as much in his post) or that trips to Fiji are extravagant. He obviously knows that. A six year old would know that. And it isn't adding to the discussion to keep pointing it out.

Not to derail the tread but AJ you did read the title of the thread? Although some of underlying issues may be with partners not being on the same page with financial goals the whole point of the thread is help with lowering expenses. Yes it is awfully easy for us to pick it apart but that was what was asked.

Joet

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #66 on: April 27, 2013, 11:48:28 AM »

Ask your wife when she wants to retire and try to truly listen to her.  Say "Hey honey, when do you want to retire?" and then shut up and truly listen to her.

Good luck.

Thank you for your post, I'll check out that book, it sounds appropriate. Spouses answer to this question is 'to work forever, just like her father'. So I've couched the argument in terms of FI, and not 'retirement', which to type-A's sounds like giving up or quitting. However spouse is married to whatever job s(he)'s at at any given time and I see him/her struggle all the time [like we all do]. Just trying to break the chains.
Thanks again for the tips. I'll probably never get to 3/4k monthly spending but I think we can get to 8k. Running the numbers for our budget there isnt tremendous difference between 8k and 4k for FI date anyways in the next couple years. 8k puts us at around a ~40% net savings rate--good enough imo. I had always thought as a general rule "save a third, get taxed a third, spend a third" would be ok. Taxes arent quite 1/3 [and savings arent quite 1/3 either!", just some tweaks needed, imo. I'll never get to the point where a 1500 annual budget on vacations will work, for instance. We cant even get on the plane to visit her relatives 1x a year for that. It's all about moderation. If I'm forced to live in a cardboard box I'm sure we could make a $0 income work for a while. For now, just hoping to see if we can pull in about 2K-2.5K of "discrentionary spending"---heh!
I'm already envisioning "paying our future selves" as you said that $$$.

The month of April we're already over 9k in spending, and thanks to YNAB I'm watching the clock! It does include an unfortunate deductible/accident and overage for wanting an actual OEM crash-standard bumper [thanks Geico for chinese powder stamped dangerous parts considered replacement worthy], so thats a "one timer" of 1400. But I think as I mentioned earlier.. my tracking of expenses shows that EVERY month has a "one-timer" in that range so we need to pull spending down even more I guess since we always have these things pop up on us. :)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 11:52:24 AM by Joet »

happy

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #67 on: April 28, 2013, 03:12:34 AM »
Hey Joet,  I think you're right to keep trying to move to FI.  Spouses can change and Type As can burn out. When I was in my 20s and 30s I gave 200% to my 6 figure job.  But I burnt out and had kids and couldn't face trying to be the perfect careerist anymore. He/she may be grateful for a safety net one day.

Just keep gradually trimming and socking it away....it will be hard, but don't underestimate how much influence you can have even if it feels minimal at times.

So if your spouse wants to work forever,  how are you thinking of proceeding? Do you want to retire early? How would you  and your spouse feel about this?

SunshineGirl

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #68 on: April 28, 2013, 04:13:29 PM »
Congrats on the changes you're making. Your dog will be just as happy without the expensive dogwalker.

How much do you owe on your house, and do you have any other debt (car, right?). The reason I ask is one strategy you might want to employ is communicating an urge to be completely debt-free, and maybe redirect a portion of your monthly spending to paying down the house.

And, do you have an emergency fund in case something happens to either one of your jobs?

Or, since you are at the ocean so much, why not sell your house now and rent something there? Or closer to work?

Or, can you agree to save one income, spend one income?

Maybe a couple big, radical things will get you to your desired point sooner.

Joet

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #69 on: April 28, 2013, 05:04:13 PM »
I'm paying off the car (~17k payoff) as soon as I get my next quarterly bonus
I do like the "idea" of 'sneaking' savings by taking it away upfront [scheduled overpayments, automatic deductions from payroll, etc, as those have been honestly they only way we have ever really saved anything consistently]

But the house I have no desire to pay off whatsoever--I already feel super exposed to this property, the loan on it is less than 40% LTV
I'm 8.5 miles from work and already bike commute it ~95% of the time. My spouse is 20m away and while we'd like to move to be closer to our jobs I've found the transactional costs of moving to be a bit overwhelming. Still it might be nice in a last ditch effort to meet savings goals to just lop the amount off the top and let spouse grow the revolving debt/CC balance and deal with overspending that way. Sounds like playing with fire. She'd probably take a 401k-loan at that point to pay it off [has threatened to many times in the past to fill in gaps for spending]

We try to live as centrally as possible to where our jobs might be now and in the future. As has happened in the past if we were to move to on/about the midpoint of both of our jobs one of us would inevitably end up changing jobs quickly. It's like a curse. So we are sitting next to the airport downtown and near 3 major freeways and 2 lightrail systems [caltrain/VTA for those that know the area]. We probably could move up the peninsula a little bit but it gets progressively more and more expensive. Plus there's that 'moved-nearby-our-jobs' curse thing to worry about.

I'd love to move closer to the ocean but we made the decision to minimize our daily commutes vs the weekend ones. It was probably the right move for us, and does result in lowered frustration points/aggravation.

I think we didn't have to do anything radical to hit 8,333/mo [our new budget, hits 100k even spending/yr--I like round numbers]. I was using YNAB and created spending patterns/quantities that represent just a couple minor tweaks [- home phone, - dogwalker, - spending on a couple other areas a bit] and $8333 looks pretty easy to hit and not feel pinched IMO. We'll see how it goes, I'm hoping for the best. I like the fact that the budgeting software in YNAB allows us to enter 'ghost' entries for the vacation/gifts budget that always seem to bite us in the you-know-what. That way even though say we only actually "spent" 7k [say] in a given month, we know that we "overspent" because of the 'ghost' categories for vacation/gifts that will appear throughout the year which we've pegged at 1500/mo avg. So it allows us to shoot for a realistic # monthly, IMO.
I don't know really but I'm hoping for the best. Obviously just writing out a budget for a certain amount doesnt make it magically happen. Trying to have weekly informal sync-ups on budget/spending/expectations/revisions as necessary moving forward.

again a hearty thanks to everyone here.

With that number total taxes [payroll, federal, state, property] are 32.5% of gross, saving is 32.6% of gross, and "spending" is 34% of gross.
Suprisingly close to my overall "spend a third, save a third, get taxed on a third"--that was my back-of-the-napkin goal all along anyways.
I have a sneaking suspicion that "one time" expenses in the ~1k range that 'magically' happen every month [pet gets sick, cousin graduates from XYZ, we have to fly there, wedding for friend comes up, etc etc etc] likewise need to be budgeted as they always show up. Otherwise we just dont go I guess or we blow our budget. So we'll see. May 1 is around the corner, and I'm calling the dog walker and the phone company. See ya

Phrased a different way: spending is 48.5% of net [after taxes] so we are safely within the 1-income range. We believe our jobs are secure but you never know. We could reduce spending a bit more if the worst happens we believe.  Our total investment portfolio [taxable + tax advantaged] is about 2.5x our household gross income, we have 6 months of reserves in easy-to-nab Ibonds/CDs/MMs intentionally.
This is an improvement of savings in the 40% of net or 28% of gross [I did this all in excel this weekend]--a big improvement. I'm considering 401k matches 'savings' and not income which probably isn't accurate. Oh well I was consistent on either side.

I'm really happy about the idea of saving ~48% of net or 32% of gross. It really is right in our fingertips! And that's without even paying off the car so when that happens in a couple months hopefully we can shoot over that level a bit. Or say screw it and have some fun in Australia :)
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 06:43:29 PM by Joet »

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #70 on: April 28, 2013, 08:32:32 PM »

after a ~45 minute discussion/argument/fight, I ended up getting an agreement to nix the house phone, dog walker, and to use YNAB to keep an eye on monthly expenses and to shoot for a (wait for it....) $8k all-in monthly budget including all annualized expenses. Woo! That would push annual savings into the 110k-range.


And my partner basically tells me "I spend on US honey, I want us to be HAPPY, so I buy nice things", indeed. This is true

I just have three quick thoughts:

1. There's a book out there on 'love languages' (can't remember the title at the moment) that you might want to pick up and read with your partner. The last quoted sentence stood out to me because sometimes a person shows their love by buying gifts and if you have a nice high income, those gifts could add up quickly. Maybe you could talk about the way you prefer love to be shown (spending time, physical affection, etc.) rather than a pricey bottle of wine.

2. Try starting a 'one in, one out' rule. If you already have super nice chairs/kitchen utensils/etc. you probably don't need to buy more 'stuff'. Next time you buy anything that will be residing in your house for more than a week (aka groceries) then force yourself to get rid of something in the same category. At least thinking through this might help you see that you already have way more than you need. P.s. this goes for sports equipment too. You don't need the latest greatest mountain bike/surf board/etc. stuff. Unless you are a professional, getting the latest toy isn't going to make your surfing experience any better.

3. I'm looking to move to the San Jose area and am having some difficulty finding a job (staying optimistic though!). If you decide to add back in a dog walker, let me know! :-P

MsSindy

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #71 on: April 29, 2013, 11:43:37 AM »
I’ve just read through this post and thought that I may be able to offer a perspective since we are more alike than I care to admit (nothing personal mind you!).  Sorry about the length!  We are also DINK with relatively high incomes, in our mid 40s.  We have been able to save a sizeable amount despite our previous consumer lifestyle.  My DH is not totally on-board with early retirement, so I have had to frame it as, “wouldn’t it be nice to have F-U money?” – this conversation usually occurs when he has a crappy day at work.  It resonates better with him.

Generally, he likes work and doesn’t have a real motivation to “retire early”, so we have different goals.  And honestly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to “retire early”, but I certainly wanted to be in a position to work on my terms.  So, I started to have conversations about that.  About my goals and what I wanted to do, and what I wanted the future to look like.  I think when he first heard “retirement” he kept picturing me sitting around in my sweatpants without showering for the day (a certain “work at home Friday” may have given him that impression!).  Now he has a better vision of what’s important to me and we work (mostly) together on that goal.  It sounds like your partner has a strong work ethic (like mine), so saying that you want to surf all day is not going to make you appealing in their eyes, so maybe you have to re-think what it means to be FIRE, and compromise.

The rule in our house is that if you’re not willing to cut expenses, then you don’t get to complain about your job for more than 30 seconds!  When he does complain, I steer him toward a future that if we saved now, we could be in a great position where he wouldn’t have to work, or he could go back to doing a more hands-on job that pays a lot less but would make him happier – he likes that vision.  I look for opportunities to teach and reinforce the lifestyle I want to live.  I joke that I’m going to hate traveling all over the States once I’m retired and he’s still at work….instead of figuring out the magical number where we both could retire, I figured out the magical number where I could retire or maybe switch to contract work or go part-time – I want options.

Luckily, we have come to an agreement on the budget and he does hold up his end of it – but it is a very realistic budget that we have both agreed upon (not ideal, but livable).  We also agreed that any overtime/bonus monies earned can be spent as the person chooses – I keep his separately and he draws down on it for his hobby spending (Do I think the amount of $$ he spends on his hobby is outlandish? Absolutely!  But this way we have a workable budget with no resentments and no reason to sabotage or stray.)  Now, would I totally get faced-punched for the budget we have?  Absolutely!!  Are there inefficiencies in the budget?  Absolutely!  Will it take me longer to reach FIRE than if I had an on-board spouse?  Absolutely!  But, in all fairness to my hubby, I’m trying to change the rules on him after 20+ years of marriage…it’s going to take some time.  Be patient, you’ll get there.

That being said, I lead by example. I still drive a 12 year old Ford Focus, do my own nails, cook all our own meals (even when I’d rather go out ‘cuz I’m tired), grow a garden, buy only the needed work clothes, and not the designer stuff, etc.  And, over the years, it has rubbed off on him.  He’ll tell me about the “poor guy at work who just bought a new car, but will probably be working until he’s 60” or, so-in-so neighbor just bought a Range Rover, what an idiot – why would he need one of those?” – About a year ago, he may have said the same thing, but it would be because he was envious!  But not so much, anymore.  I think he’s getting the message, slowly.

If FIRE is important to YOU, then figure out how to get yourself there – she doesn’t necessarily have to FIRE, but she does have to commit to staying within an acceptable spending range to help you reach your vision. Thinking that she’ll magically do it when you FIRE is flirting with disaster and resentment.

If she cares about you, she’ll want to see you be happy – you need to help paint her a vision of what “happy” looks like to you.  What will you do when you’re FIRE?  I got news for you, unless you can make a side-gig out of it, you probably won’t be jetting off to Fiji!  So you really need to think about what that future looks like (maybe you do want to have a consulting gig so you can take trips to Fiji).

Good luck and keep us posted – everyone can always learn from how people have been successful with getting their partners on board, or who have learned alternative ways to think about the situation.


Freda

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #72 on: April 29, 2013, 11:52:03 AM »
I’ve just read through this post and thought that I may be able to offer a perspective since we are more alike than I care to admit (nothing personal mind you!).  Sorry about the length!  We are also DINK with relatively high incomes, in our mid 40s.  We have been able to save a sizeable amount despite our previous consumer lifestyle.  My DH is not totally on-board with early retirement, so I have had to frame it as, “wouldn’t it be nice to have F-U money?” – this conversation usually occurs when he has a crappy day at work.  It resonates better with him.

Generally, he likes work and doesn’t have a real motivation to “retire early”, so we have different goals.  And honestly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to “retire early”, but I certainly wanted to be in a position to work on my terms.  So, I started to have conversations about that.  About my goals and what I wanted to do, and what I wanted the future to look like.  I think when he first heard “retirement” he kept picturing me sitting around in my sweatpants without showering for the day (a certain “work at home Friday” may have given him that impression!).  Now he has a better vision of what’s important to me and we work (mostly) together on that goal.  It sounds like your partner has a strong work ethic (like mine), so saying that you want to surf all day is not going to make you appealing in their eyes, so maybe you have to re-think what it means to be FIRE, and compromise.

The rule in our house is that if you’re not willing to cut expenses, then you don’t get to complain about your job for more than 30 seconds!  When he does complain, I steer him toward a future that if we saved now, we could be in a great position where he wouldn’t have to work, or he could go back to doing a more hands-on job that pays a lot less but would make him happier – he likes that vision.  I look for opportunities to teach and reinforce the lifestyle I want to live.  I joke that I’m going to hate traveling all over the States once I’m retired and he’s still at work….instead of figuring out the magical number where we both could retire, I figured out the magical number where I could retire or maybe switch to contract work or go part-time – I want options.

Luckily, we have come to an agreement on the budget and he does hold up his end of it – but it is a very realistic budget that we have both agreed upon (not ideal, but livable).  We also agreed that any overtime/bonus monies earned can be spent as the person chooses – I keep his separately and he draws down on it for his hobby spending (Do I think the amount of $$ he spends on his hobby is outlandish? Absolutely!  But this way we have a workable budget with no resentments and no reason to sabotage or stray.)  Now, would I totally get faced-punched for the budget we have?  Absolutely!!  Are there inefficiencies in the budget?  Absolutely!  Will it take me longer to reach FIRE than if I had an on-board spouse?  Absolutely!  But, in all fairness to my hubby, I’m trying to change the rules on him after 20+ years of marriage…it’s going to take some time.  Be patient, you’ll get there.

That being said, I lead by example. I still drive a 12 year old Ford Focus, do my own nails, cook all our own meals (even when I’d rather go out ‘cuz I’m tired), grow a garden, buy only the needed work clothes, and not the designer stuff, etc.  And, over the years, it has rubbed off on him.  He’ll tell me about the “poor guy at work who just bought a new car, but will probably be working until he’s 60” or, so-in-so neighbor just bought a Range Rover, what an idiot – why would he need one of those?” – About a year ago, he may have said the same thing, but it would be because he was envious!  But not so much, anymore.  I think he’s getting the message, slowly.

If FIRE is important to YOU, then figure out how to get yourself there – she doesn’t necessarily have to FIRE, but she does have to commit to staying within an acceptable spending range to help you reach your vision. Thinking that she’ll magically do it when you FIRE is flirting with disaster and resentment.

If she cares about you, she’ll want to see you be happy – you need to help paint her a vision of what “happy” looks like to you.  What will you do when you’re FIRE?  I got news for you, unless you can make a side-gig out of it, you probably won’t be jetting off to Fiji!  So you really need to think about what that future looks like (maybe you do want to have a consulting gig so you can take trips to Fiji).

Good luck and keep us posted – everyone can always learn from how people have been successful with getting their partners on board, or who have learned alternative ways to think about the situation.

What a wonderful post, and it really speaks to me.  Thanks for sharing. :D

jpo

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Re: Help with lowering expenses? [awaits flamethrowers, long, srry]
« Reply #73 on: April 29, 2013, 12:03:59 PM »
1. There's a book out there on 'love languages' (can't remember the title at the moment) that you might want to pick up and read with your partner. The last quoted sentence stood out to me because sometimes a person shows their love by buying gifts and if you have a nice high income, those gifts could add up quickly. Maybe you could talk about the way you prefer love to be shown (spending time, physical affection, etc.) rather than a pricey bottle of wine.
http://www.amazon.com/Five-Love-Languages-Mens/dp/B0035G04OS/

I just borrowed and read it from my library, it was an interesting read for me.